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US President Barack Obama arrived at Tel Aviv airport today at the start of a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Making his first overseas tour since the start of his second term in office, the President is due to continue on to neighbouring Jordan on Friday.
US President Barack Obama visits Israel next week at the onset of spring - the "red line" previously drawn by his host, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to trigger an attack on Iran's nuclear sites.
But an Israeli-Iranian war, Washington's nightmare as it tries to scale back defence commitments abroad and avoid a draining Gulf oil crisis, does not appear immediately imminent.
Officials and analysts say Iran has warded off the Israeli threat by calibrating its uranium enrichment so that it does not accrue enough fuel for a potential first bomb - the threshold Netanyahu warned about in a United Nations speech in September.
President Obama has told Israelis that Iran is still more than year away from developing a nuclear weapon and sought to reassure them that military force remains a US option if sanctions and diplomacy fail to thwart its nuclear ambitions.
In an interview with Israeli television broadcast on Thursday, just six days before his visit to the country, Obama appeared to send a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the need for patience with Washington's Iran strategy while also showing US resolve to confront Tehran if necessary.
Latest ITV News reports
President Barack Obama set aside Middle East politics today to marvel at the beauty of the ancient archaeological city of Petra.
For all the warm words from the Barack Obama during his trip to Israel this week, an Israeli apology might have the most lasting impact.